(ZALESKI, Ohio) — A 92-year-old man’s attempts to buy back the house he built from his daughter with the help of Internet donors have been rejected as he awaits his eviction hearing next week.
John Potter of Zaleski, Ohio, received an eviction notice from his daughter, Janice Cotrill, and son-in-law earlier this year, saying they had terminated his “existing lease.”
Potter and his granddaughter, Jaclyn Fraley, raised $139,603 on the website GoFundMe.com in the hopes of making an offer on the home he built about 56 years ago.
“To me the situation is just so heartbreaking,” said Fraley, who believes the judge will have no choice but to evict her grandfather, a World War II veteran. Fraley said she cried when her grandfather’s attorney told her the recent offer for the home was rejected.
Potter said he’s fought some battles and won some, and this is not one he expected to lose. But he said, “We are going to walk away with our heads held high.”
An eviction hearing is scheduled for June 26 at the Vinton County Courthouse after it was originally set for June 12.
“He knows that we tried everything,” said Fraley, 35.
Potter had a market appraisal conducted on the home, which showed that its value was $47,000 plus a tract of land worth $2,830. The appraisal was much lower than what he and his granddaughter had expected.
They made an offer to Cottrill through their attorney for the market value of the home and received a counter-offer that was about $85,000 plus about $4,000 and $11,500 for the eviction process and attorney fees.
Potter said he is reluctant to offer more than what the market appraisal for the home indicated.
After discussing with his granddaughter and attorney, Potter made a second offer of $60,005.23 on June 13, but Cottrill, they said, declined that as well without a counter-offer.
In a document shown to ABC News, a rejection letter from the attorney of Cottrill and her husband, dated June 14 states, “They find the offer unacceptable and decline the same.”
Cottrill declined to comment to ABC News.
The story goes back to 2004, when Potter and his wife, who has since died, gave the general power of attorney to his daughter for future matters if they declined in health, including to take care of her autistic adult brother, now 64. Cottrill eventually used that power to allegedly convey the deed to the one-story home to herself.
In 2010, Potter said he learned of the deed transfer and switched power of attorney to his granddaughter, Fraley.
A second action is pending in probate court over what kind of contact Potter can have with his son, who is living with Cottrill. Her husband is the guardian of her brother. On a temporary order issued about six months ago, Potter has visitation rights to see his son.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Lois M. Collins, Deseret News